April is one of the busiest months in the Agility Team GB calendar…

MLBy Mark Laker
International Agility Team Manager, Agility Team GB
With the Performance Weekend at the beginning of the month followed by many hours working though our selections for the 2018 teams and then picking dogs and handlers for this years development programme. Its exciting, rewarding and challenging, but thats the role. There are also many people who ask for feedback on their performance and where they can improve in the future.

This year we’ve selected to take 26 dogs to the European Open in Austria and 17 dogs to the World Championships in Sweden. You can read more about the selections and considerations in our decision making process in my blog For these handlers the hard work now begins. There is a lot of preparation required leading up to these big competitions not only the logistical planning, but also mapping out their training programmes for the months ahead.

These handlers will now be setting out which competitions they’ll attend to assist their preparations, setting out fitness and conditioning programmes for themselves and their dogs, working on their mental skills, as well focusing on the dog training and handling skills required for the courses they’re likely to be faced with. So lots to do.

Following the Performance Weekend we also picked 11 dogs to join this years development programme. This programme is designed to help prepare dogs and handlers for a chance in a future team. It’s been running for a couple of years now and we’ve had very positive feedback from previous people.

For the Coaching Team we’ll be getting to work with all the handlers over the next few weeks to identify where help they need and supporting them as they set out their 2018 plans. Although the hard work starts now, its a really enjoyable part of the job.

I’m hoping for some better agility weather so I can compete with my youngster who is coming on well. I’ve entered three competitions so far this year, two have been rained off.

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